Please read!! Need advice for student consequences!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by MaestraEspanola, May 14, 2010.

  1. MaestraEspanola

    MaestraEspanola New Member

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    May 14, 2010

    I teach Spanish I to freshmen, and today my students had their speaking final, where I take them out in the hall and ask them questions in Spanish and they need to respond. While I had a student out in the hall, the others were in my classroom working on a study guide for their written final next week. Since I would not be supervising, I told them not to leave their seats and they needed to be working. I also had asked a student privately if she would monitor the class for me and write down anything she saw that was breaking the rules.
    After class, the student gave me the following report:

    "Diamond and Shyheim were cussing at each other across the room."

    "Eshany and Kwentin were jumping over tables, Kwentin was picking up Eshany, Kwentin was on his phone, and Eshany was dancing on the tables."

    "Mikal (who I had previously asked to monitor the class and had lied to my face about the behavior of himself and classmates) did not do his work and talked about everything besides Spanish; Diamond pulled his hair."

    So, you can imagine my fury when I read this upon the dismissal of my students. I called each of the parents, who supported me 100% and told me to do whatever I thought fair as a consequence. I then talked to my principal and vice principal (since this took place at the end of the day) to explain the situation and ask for their advice on consequences. They suggested having them sit out on the last day of school activities, being placed in solitary in the office, which I thought appropriate. Also, I am going to have my students make pinatas after their final and then break them outside on the last day of school, which I will not allow them to do.

    However, I need something more immediate for Monday and the remainder of the school year. Do you have any suggestions or things you have used in the past?

    Thanks in advance-I really appreciate it!!
     
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  3. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    May 14, 2010

    Well, let me say first that you have the coolest names of students concentrated in one class :p

    I would suggest that killing the pinatas (what is the quick key for an "n" with a tilde??) is not really that necessary. As far as consequences go, what are the school consequences for pulling another kids hair? Talking on the cell phone? verbal abuse? inappropriate language? It sounds like their is a host of issues that needs to be addressed individually.

    But some of this behavior obviously would cause some commotion - "dancing on tables" "students picking each other up" "pulling hair..." are your classes soundproof or were you down the hall in another room?

    But you did know that the kids had already misbehaved when you had left them alone at another time, correct. In this I have to question whether you were setting them up to fail.

    How long is the oral exam? Were the kids just being sneaky and goofy? Was the time to study necessary if the children just squandered it before and now? Even though busy work is pointless, perhaps you could have worksheets that were time-intensive and counted toward their grade instead of time to study, which to many high school kids sounds like "free-play."

    While there is not much time left in the school year you could make several changes to your class for the remainder of the year. When Kwentin comes into your class you could procure his cell phone and place it in your desk reminding him that he lost your trust by using it for a non-emergency. This is not a big deal since you should give it back as soon as class is over but having to go through the routine of surrendering his phone everyday would act as a natural consequence: If you are not going to use the phone appropriately (for emergency only use) in the class, you will hold it for him in your desk while he is in class.

    Pulling hair, cussing, dancing on desks, picking up other students: while all of these are unacceptable usually schools have policies regarding these activities that act as a punishment.

    the consequence is that they lost your trust. I must admit that I am not familiar with exactly what is required of a Spanish class but It sounds like instead of having the verbal final outside you should have considered giving them a verbal final presentation. If you are worried about kids not performing at their ability because of the audience component you could then offer an alternative to the presentation in the classroom after-school or before school.

    Ultimately, any consequence (not punishment) should stem from the behavior. You also put the student who was the monitor in an awkward position, and I hope you realize this. But now that you are aware of the behavior I would suggest a talk with the students who were disruptive (what you say and how you talk with them is much more individual- and since I do not know the children I do not want to suggest a discussion route that is ineffective) while the other students who behaved did some classroom activity or free time (perhaps you could bring in Spanish games, music, and a movie- I do not know if you have the flexibility in your schedule to allow for this or if you need to focus on getting through your lessons). Is participation part of your grading? The students should certainly not get participation points for the day.


    Well that is a bunch of rambling from my pov anyhow. This story brings up so many questions. But the root is that the children did not behave as they should. Punishment will not change the behavior. Consistent consequences will; but since there is so little time left in the course, whatever route you take is likely not to help much. However, this is a good experience for you to reflect. Were there any signs that the students would not be able to handle the level of responsibility that you were entrusting them. If so, what alternative approaches could you have used to not entrust them with that level of responsibility. Were classroom expectations clearly outlined? Was there anything you could have said beforehand that would have helped keep them on task? Was there any better way to monitor that they stayed on task? etc.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 14, 2010

    I would be VERY careful about punishing kids based on hearsay. You were not in the room; you did not witness any of the behavior. You're taking the word of a student that all that happened. I don't doubt that it did, but still, you didn't witness it.

    And putting one child in the position of "snitch" really isn't fair to that child. If and when the kids figure out who took notes (and they will. I bet you a dollar they're on Facebook right now discussing it) that kid is in for a rough time from all the kids who get in trouble. The tougher the consequences on them, the more miserable they're going to make her.

    I would ask for a sub the next time I needed to be out of the classroom. You cannot be in two places at the same time, and obviously things got completely out of control in your classroom while you were in the hall.

    Leaving a class unsupervised is a problem. If someone had gotten hurt-- and it doesn't sound like much of a stretch based on what you're reported-- you could have faced some serious legal issues. Those kids were your responsibility, not the responsibility of the child you asked to tattle. In my school, the kids would not be in nearly as much trouble for their actions as I would be if all that happened while the kids were supposed to be under my supervision.

    I think you really need a much better system for those final exams.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 15, 2010

    I agree with Alice--even if you need the quiet of the hall to do your evaluation, you also need to be able to see and hear your students. Next week, I need to begin my end of the year reading assessments with my students. The only way to do a running record effectively is to sit in the hall so that I can hear them. Even though our classrooms all have large windows into the hallway, I leave the door open and sit in the doorway. I am still able to supervise my class while being able to effectively evaluate my students.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 15, 2010

    Freshmen like to think of themselves as young adults, so they should be able to act like young adults. It sounds like most of your students did choose to act this way, but some did not. The ones who broke the rules should face consequences for their actions.

    Taking the cell phone away each day from the kid who used it in class will be a good reminder to keep it in his pocket from now on. As for the rest of the behavior, let the punishment fit the crime. How about making them do a repetitive writing assignment - in Spanish!

    Something like "If I want to be treated like a young adult, I must act like a young adult. Mrs. MaestraEspanola trusted me to behave and I was wrong to betray that trust."

    That's a pretty long statement to write, but these are freshmen. I would say 100 times would be more than enough and maybe just 50-75 times since it's so long. Or maybe you can come up with a better statement for them to write.

    If the repetitive writing doesn't appeal to you, maybe make them spend lunch time in your room for 3 days. Make them sit apart from one another and no talking, texting or anything else during the lunch period.
     
  7. MaestraEspanola

    MaestraEspanola New Member

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    May 15, 2010

    Thanks for all the advice; you make a lot of good points. It's definitely a learning experience and I will know how to better handle the situation for next year. I agree that it is hard to punish without having seen it myself, and I know the awkwardness of being asked to be a snitch so to speak, but the students do not know I had asked anyone to be a snitch and I plan to keep it that way. Whatever the case, the situation will be handled and as I said, this has definitely been a learning experience. Either way, as many of you said, they have lost my trust and that alone will have an affect on them. Thanks again!
     
  8. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

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    May 23, 2010

    I think the consequence should be more immediate. If you wait till the end of the year, they might not relate it to their behavior that's happening now. You can give other students or other classes extra credit that is not their class if these students are older students like high school.
     
  9. BTrippin

    BTrippin New Member

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    Jun 6, 2010

    I know it's a bit late as the year has ended, but I have some excerpts from my districts Student Code of Conduct that are printed on "special" laminated paper. If a whole class is poorly behaved, they stop and go right to writing them. I keep these on file with their signature on the bottom as well -- just in case I want to send them home to be signed. For individuals, I send them to a "buddy room" and they have to write for the entire class period. If that's not feasible, I have them come to lunch for detention or after school for detention. At my last campus, lunch detention was the key--they HATED losing their social time. At my current campus, it just doesn't work--and parent contact only works half of the time because so many students have parents that can't be reached.

    I understand the difficulty of giving consequences for something I don't see and the problems with using student information--but sometimes it is all we have. On my campus, the written note from the student would serve as a "statement" which could be turned in with a referral on those infractions that warranted a referral--our APs would then call in the student privately and talk to them discretely before proceeding. If I ever have a student that comes to me with a serious incident that they saw, I have them write a statement and put it with my referral (had this happen this year when a boy stole back his friend's cell phone from my desk--that simply could not be let go).

    These may not work for you or they may not fall in line with your campus approach--I just offer it because it has worked wonders for me this year.
     
  10. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Jun 6, 2010

    I'm stunned that you felt you could leave your room, even to go right outside in the hallway, in the first place. That would result in World War X in any classroom in my building.
     
  11. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jun 6, 2010

    I don't have any ideas for consequences but have a possible suggestion. Perhaps you can use a tape player or mp3 player and have students record into it. (That's how a band director I know tests his students). You can have a responsible student (maybe upperclassman) in the hall with the students testing so they cannot rewind and hear the other students' answers. :2cents:
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jun 6, 2010

    Never leave students unsupervised. Leaving a student as "tattletale" isn't a good choice either.

    I will not give consequences for things that I did not witness myself.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 6, 2010

    Ditto on the behavior management advice. You set up a situation that was doomed to fail. No student should be put in a position to have to monitor/tell on other students.
     
  14. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Jun 25, 2010

    Just to add to some of the other good ideas, I would suggest using the librarian (if available). Librarians are always looking for ways to be helpful. At my school, if given enough notice, the librarian will assist with classes and projects like this one. Have a designated area in the library and instructions for the students and librarian to use. Allow students to go to the library and record the assignment.
     

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